WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES OCTOBER 15, 2020 21
Fresh Pond Road’s unique place in history
BY THE OLD TIMER
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
Whenever you drive, walk or
ride the infamously slow
Q58 bus along Fresh Pond
Road, there’s always two questions
that come to mind. The fi rst is, why
the heck is there so much traffi c on
this little roadway?
We can’t answer that one, but we
can answer the second question: Why
do they call it Fresh Pond Road when
there isn’t anything close to resembling
a fresh pond nearby?
Believe it or not, there were fresh
ponds in the vicinity of Fresh Pond
Road at one point in time. They were
drained and developed centuries ago
into the residential and commercial
areas that we know of today.
More than that, however, Fresh
Pond Road is one of the most important
and historic roadways in all of Queens
County. Its roots date back to a time
before colonists even arrived on our
shores some 400 years ago.
Fresh Pond Road started out as an
old trail for Native Americans living
in present-day Maspeth, the neighborhood
whose name is derived from the
Mespeatches tribe that once resided
there. The Mespeatches walked along
this trail from Maspeth south into
present-day Brooklyn to Jamaica Bay.
There, they fi shed and clammed, then
brought back home with them seashells
later used to make wampum, a
form of native currency.
Colonists, upon arriving in Queens
in the 1600s, continued to use the trail,
which would at one point be known
as Kill’s Path. It was given that name
because, according to legend, the road
became a site for battles among Native
Kill’s Path, which extended from
present-day Cypress Hills, Brooklyn
to Maspeth, would be incorporated
into the maps of the town of Newtown
(which had encompassed much of the
Greater Ridgewood area) and later
into Queens County.
The road was named Fresh Pond
Road in the 1800s to refl ect two small
ponds that once occupied an area just
to the east of the roadway and to the
north of what would become Mount
Olivet Crescent. Reiff Playground, at
this intersection, occupied part of
where one of these ponds once existed.
These ponds, fi lled with brackish runoff
from the nearby Newtown Creek,
were drained and fi lled in during the
Fresh Pond Road, at one point, also
included the full length of what is
known today as Cypress Hills Street,
which runs from Jamaica Avenue in
Cypress Hills to the intersection of
Fresh Pond Road and 69th Avenue in
Ridgewood. This stretch had many
diff erent nicknames over the years
including Old Fresh Pond Road, Stony
Road and Snake Hill Road.
The serpentine nature of Snake Hill
Road, which curves and twists up and
down the steep glacial moraine running
through the heart of geographic
Long Island, probably had more to do
with the name than the presence of
During the 20th century, the city
formally established Fresh Pond Road
on its current route from Flushing
Avenue in Maspeth to Myrtle Avenue
in Ridgewood. The last three blocks of
Fresh Pond Road, from 69th to Myrtle
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avenues, were carved out of farm land.
The “old” portion of Fresh Pond Road
from 69th Avenue to Jamaica Avenues
became Cypress Hills Street.
Of course, Fresh Pond Road is today
one of the busiest and active roadways
in the entire borough, lined with
shops, restaurants, bars and apartments.
It’s one of the most important
north-to-south roadways in the
Greater Ridgewood area, as it is the
only street to cut through Ridgewood,
Maspeth and Middle Village.
Reprinted from the July 21, 2016
An early 20th century photo of Fresh Pond Road looking north at Metropolitan Avenue on the Ridgewood/Middle Village border.
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